The final event took place at the beautiful Riverbank Arts Centre in Newbridge. It was curated by Christodoulos Makris, with my supporting role not really needed, and put together thanks largely to his residency with Riverbank and Maynooth College. The venue was lovely, a theatre space, and the staff made everyone feel at home after we bussed in from Dublin. This was solo performances, a mix of locals and Europeans, and was something I had hoped to design into the finale - a calmer, more literary, more intimate event. I’ve done these absorbing intensive touring projects before and found myself closing them out sad and tired. I wanted, knowing this fesivalt to be so ambitious, to finish with something more careful and considered, with a lot of my goodbyes done, proffered out over the final days. The festival was designed to be roving, picking up and putting down as it goes along, with poets jumping in and out throughout, rather than within a block structure everyone has to attend. This was another concept which I think was proofed out, as the energy was always high, and the greetings and farewells added unsentimental poignancy to almost every day.
The readings were a mix of styles and standards, but some real highlights, Christodoulos himself was excellent, reading from his new book with Dostoyevsky Wannabe, and Damir Sodan, my old friend from Croatia, Endre Ruset, my old friend from Norway, and Sophie Carolin Wagner, who had been with the festival for the entire duration (the only one besides me) and did a mashup of all her collaborations, were also excellent. The final performance of the fest fell to Serena Braida, who, as ever before, was quite brilliant and lifted the energy before the final farewell.